there is a lot to share about our experience in california last week, and it has taken more time than i expected to sort through all of the related thoughts and feelings.
in some ways, the trip was quite different than either of us expected. i think both of us expected that the angels would sing and all would fall naturally into place the entire time we were there. and some of that did happen. but some of that also did not happen. some of it was surprising and hard. some of our conversations coming back here to florida have been quite honest and candid in ways neither of us really want them to be. and in that place, reflecting on those things, i feel a measure of disappointment.
it's been hard to sift through that disappointment to discern the true root of it. and i think one reason that has been hard is because there is both good and bad to hold in our hands through this, both amazingness and difficulty. in my heart, i feel the good and the bad judging each other, making it difficult for either of them to coexist and be true at the same time.
so, despite the difficulty and my not fully understanding all that God is up to yet, i will try to relate some of how things went. this will not be an exhaustive list.
* our time with ISF was very fruitful and peaceful and lovely. we spent about an hour talking with the program administrator. i loved her energy and the language she used to talk about the program and its students. i felt a continued connection to what this program is about and what i am about, which was exciting and encouraging. then kirk and i had individual interviews with the program administrator and an additional staff person. mine lasted about an hour, and kirk's lasted about 40 minutes. all told, we were there for nearly three hours. i am amazed they took as much time with us as they did, and that they were continually gracious to have offered us all of that time.
* as i was sitting in the lobby during kirk's interview, reflecting on how mine had gone and praying for him during his, i was overcome with a sense of right-now-ness, similar to what i experienced on easter sunday from my previous post. i could feel my heart bubbling up with a sense of urgency, like this program is very much for me and the time for it is very much right now. that felt really good and accorded me a great measure of peace and contentedness and happiness as i sat there in that lobby waiting for him to come out.
* kirk's experience had a little bit of a different twist. about halfway through his interview, it became really clear to him that God is moving him into a season of focusing on career. this wasn't wholly surprising, since he has always been anticipating working full-time and taking classes just part-time. the surprising thing is that he realized he would be okay if he waited a little while to start the program, perhaps a semester or even a year. he even felt strongly enough about this to express it in his interview, sharing that if their decision came down to having room for only one of us in the fall, he hoped they would choose me instead of him. wow. that was quite a revelation for him to experience and for me to hear.
* as the week went on, kirk's conviction about this grew. we are now pretty certain that one of the primary ways God used this week was to grant kirk the gift of perspective and clarity of priorities. this is pretty amazing, as kirk has spent the past three years completely reorienting his life toward receiving a new kingdom or territory over which to rule and has been walking in a desert for much of that time, wondering when that kingdom will come into view and what it will entail. God has made it clear to kirk that the time for ruling and reigning is upon him. whoa. God totally showed up for kirk this week in that way. we are both totally blown away by that.
* we visited a handful of areas in which we thought we might like to live. we saw some beautiful communities and some not-so-beautiful communities. overall, the house-hunting aspect of our trip seemed to provoke more stress than expected. both of us became quite struck by what a special place we inhabit right now in winter park and what a beautiful home and quality of life we share for such a low, low cost of living. it's extraordinary, really. we will be hard-pressed to find a similar situation in southern california, which is high-priced and congested and very much filled with concrete and track homes. neither of us are very sure which area of california will ultimately be for us, but we acknowledge and trust that all of that will work itself out in the way it needs to at the time it needs to do so, eventually.
* ultimately, this is going to come down to a question of financial viability. there is the possibility that when we receive our notices from ISF (which should come in about two months, just after memorial day), that we will find ourselves in a position of practical readiness to move and create a life in california, if invited to do so. we are having conversations about what that could look like. but we are also having conversations about what it could look like if we aren't ready, if we need more time, if prolonging the move for six months or a year might need to be an option for financial reasons.
* i think this is the part that is hard for me to think about. this is the part where i want to close my eyes, put my fingers in my ears, and cry, "la-la-la-la-la! la-la-la-la-la!" like a little kid throwing a tantrum and being unwilling to listen to reason. but i'm getting better at having this conversation. i'm conceding the truths of reality and the truths of what things are important to us. i'm conceding that there needs to be a measure of wisdom. and i'm conceding that in some ways, God could also be up to some other things not fully in view quite yet. and we want to be open to all of that. we want to receive the full measure.
* right now, kirk and i are very clear that getting to california will take some practical readiness on a financial level that we need to build toward intentionally. we do not want to get there and have to blow through our savings and then be up a creek, not knowing what to do next. we want to be prepared, and we think that means exercising wisdom and restraint, if necessary. it also means doing what we can to prepare while waiting to hear from ISF in the next two months.
* so in the interim, we are both exploring some handfuls of options for what this new momentum could look like for both of us, both in california (if we move immediately) and in florida (if we need to wait). even though the initial thought of this part was difficult to swallow and somewhat distasteful to me, it has started to become exciting. i am looking forward to what will emerge. i wonder, for both of us, what we will find.